Skip to main content

SHIPrepair to MAintain Transport which is Environmentally Sustainable (SHIPMATES)

Final Report Summary - SHIPMATES (SHIPrepair to MAintain Transport which is Environmentally Sustainable)

The objective of the 'Shiprepair to Maintain Transport which is Environmentally Sustainable' (SHIPMATES) project was to provide a blueprint for a technologically advanced and environmentally friendly shiprepair/conversion yard, with a target of productivity improvement over today's European yards and to investigate the opportunities available in terms of ship breaking.
As an activity, repair and conversion has more of the characteristics of a service industry than manufacturing. Relative to shipbuilding, it is high volume work with a rapid turnaround and is highly unpredictable.

The Work Packages in the project were intended to provide a clear understanding of best practice in the sector and to map and to simulate the range of repair and conversion yard activities, with the exception of the painting and coating range of activities.

The project comprised six core Work Packages:
- Mapping of the process and operations of a ship repair yard
- Analysis and modelling of the processes leading to:
- Improving the steel cutting and joining processes relevant to repair yards;
- Advancing the processes of repair and replacement of cabling and pipework; and
- Establishing a controlled process for converting/retrofitting ships ballast and waste water systems in order to make operation more environmentally friendly.
- Exploring ship breaking and recycling as an alternative market.

As such, the work packages (WP) had the following objectives and results:

WP 1 - Activity map
The main element of WP1 has been creation and use of the Activity Map, which has been developed into an analysis tool for Shiprepair. Initial Map development was reviewed by the partners, and the input used for the Final Map development. The Map identifies the key activities based on the stages of a contract and the functions in a shipyard. It emphasises the linkages between the activities which ensure that technology is applied effectively. Each activity can be sub-divided into sub-activities for a more detailed review. The tool is available for future use by the EU Shiprepair Industry for Benchmarking Technology, Productivity Assessment and Supporting Investment Decisions (please refer to Appendix 1 for more details).
Large shipyards are more technically advanced but there is considerable scope for development. Small shipyards are less advanced, as there are limited resources for investment. Case studies demonstrated the potential value of investment in new technologies. The activities selected for SHIPMATES provided good opportunities for improvements. There is a lot more which can be done, using SHIPMATES results, to improve shiprepair in the EU.

WP 2 - Analysis of Technologies
The Work Package 2 (Analysis of technologies) provided a blueprint of the current 'technologies and processes' employed in the critical manufacturing and repair activity (in particular focusing on: cutting, welding, piping and cabling activity). The work package included an academic and market survey on new technologies and processes together with a present and foreseen regulation survey, and thus lead to the identification of the 'technology gap' between best practices.
The results of this work package constitute the input for the following research activities, in particular for the developing of ship repair activity process and cost models.
The main objectives of this work package were the following:
- identification of the technologies available in the market and/or applied in other industrial fields and usable in ship repair (Market Review for all Technologies);
- definition of ship repair s.o.t.a about technologies and processes still used in the shipyards;
- searching and analysis of the main rules about the ship repair field (Regulatory Environment);
- identification and definition of technology needs and gap analysis among the various shipyards.
The results of the research activities have been summarized into the following five deliverables:
1. State of the Art in Ship repair, Report on processes employed
2. Academic and market survey on new technologies and processes
3. Regulatory Environment
4. Technology Gap Analysis
5. Technology Needs Analysis

WP 3 - New process for cutting and joining
The objective of Work Package 3 was to improve processes for cutting and joining in ship hull repair, with better efficiency, productivity and competitiveness and also with environmental impact reductions.
The WP3 took as its starting point the work undertaken on the previous WPs, on the Development of Shiprepair Activity Map, and the Analysis of Technologies, with the State of the Art in ship repair industry, technology gaps and confirmation of future needs for development.
When selecting a process for a given application the primary factors are cost and efficiency. Environmental friendliness is considered (up to now) a secondary factor, but in the future it will take a larger part in selecting and developing cutting and welding processes.

WP 4 - New methods of repairing pipes and cables
The objectives of WP4 were specific to pipe and cable repair, and in line with the overall objectives of the entire Shipmates project: to ensure that the European repair and conversion sector is able to improve its share of the world market using safe and environmentally friendly working practices with improved industry competitiveness relative to our global competitors.
The specific objectives of WP4 were to produce a detailed review of alternative and emerging technologies applicable to pipe and cable repair work, producing a report, and industry evaluation. Once complete, the organisational potential of pipe and cable activities were determined through research, application by shipyards and the development of software tools, ensuring that a longer-term view could be considered, consistent with life cycle considerations.
These objectives were achieved by implementing four deliverables that successively linked together to produce outputs from WP4 that are useful to industry and link well with the SHIPMATES project as a whole.

WP 5 - Green Technology
The complete WP5 deliverables bring together the most up to date technologies for Ballast Water Treatment with respect to current and future legislation and provide a comprehensive overview of vessel requirements providing shipyards with multiple methods to utilise this information ensuring the adoption of best practice for both retrofit and new build vessels. The driving factor throughout this work package was to ensure that technologies are critically assessed for their suitability. An additional consideration of each technology was to ensure that those systems retrofitted to existing vessels are of equal quality and reliability to those incorporated at the new build stage.

WP 6 - New Technology for Shipbreaking
Proper recycling of ships is a beneficial activity with respect to sustainability, the provision of work to a significant number of people, and for the provision of steel in the ship scrapping nations.
As a part of State of the Art Study of SHIPMATES a questionnaire was prepared and circulated to, mainly ship repair yards, around Europe.
After evaluation of the returned Questionnaires following summary was made:
- Most of the large shipyards, with full workloads and modern facilities, are not at present interested to enter the ship recycling business.
- Many shipyards in Europe are surrounded by inhabited areas and have no sites for development of ship recycling. They would also require complying with strict environmental requirements.
- Some companies may be interested to enter the ship recycling business on condition that funding from EC or other sources is provided to finance the creation of facilities, and to support introduction of new technologies, making ship recycling profitable and environmentally friendly.
- Ship recycling requires different skills from the work force. Most ship repair yards have limited capacity for hull work (steel cutting).
- Ship repair yards have limited waste handling permits; therefore even if ship recyclers use their facilities, they will still have responsibility for waste handling.

Average industry manufacturing costs and production lead-times available in the public domain today coupled with values as provided by the partners where considered as the European average for the sake of simplicity.
It has been confirmed that current methods of managing hull repairs are largely based on the removal and replacement of the minimum quantity of steel. There is substantial cutting and welding carried out in the open, in poor conditions and with limited access. Although the quantity of steel is minimised, the man-hours are excessive and the energy consumption is high. Managing the cables and pipes during steelwork repairs can cause problems, because removal is perceived as time-consuming and difficult. Alternative cutting and re-joining methods will permit fast and easy removal of systems, which will enable spaces to be clear prior to steelwork repairs, giving potentially faster and cleaner steel operations, with no damage to the systems and lower resource-hours due to rework. There are opportunities to develop modular concepts for converting existing ships to greener operation.

The driving requirement in repair and conversion yards is for new technologies to be applied to meet the need for yards to work more efficiently on small quantity, frequently changed activities. For example, welding robots at their current stage of development cannot be used in repair yards because they are too inflexible in their application. For repair and conversion yards, it would be necessary to modify radically the robots and the operating software. But ultimately it may be more relevant to develop the use of adhesives for joining metal-to-metal and metal to composites in smaller repair jobs as an alternative to welding.

Related documents